A periodontist is a dentist who specialises in the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of periodontal disease, and in the placement of dental implants. Periodontists are also experts in the treatment of oral inflammation. Periodontists receive extensive training in these areas, including three additional years of education beyond dental school. They are familiar with the latest techniques for diagnosing and treating periodontal disease, and are also trained in performing cosmetic periodontal procedures.
Periodontists often treat more problematic periodontal cases, such as those with severe gum disease or a complex medical history.
Periodontists offer a wide range of treatments; both non-surgical root surface debridement and various surgical procedures for patients with more severe gum problems. In addition, periodontists are specially trained in the placement, maintenance, and repair of dental implants. They are also trained in managing complications around dental implants including infection causing bone loss (periimplantitis).
Periodontists work closely with other members of the dental team including hygienists, your referring general dentist and other dental specialists.
During the first visit, Kate will review your complete medical and dental histories. It is extremely important for her to know if any medications are being taken or if you are being treated for any condition that can affect periodontal care, such as heart disease, diabetes, or pregnancy.
Kate will examine the gums, check to see if there is any gum line recession, assess how the teeth fit together when biting, and check the teeth to see if any are loose. She will also take a small measuring instrument called a probe and place it between the teeth and gums to determine the depth of those spaces, known as periodontal pockets; this helps her assess the health of the gums. X-rays may also be requested to observe the health of the bone below the gum line.
WHO SHOULD SEE A PERIODONTIST?
Some patients’ periodontal needs can be managed by their dentist. However, as more and more patients are exhibiting signs of periodontal disease, coupled with research that suggests a relationship between periodontal disease and other chronic diseases, periodontal treatment may necessitate a greater understanding and increased level of expertise by a trained specialist. Patients who present with moderate or severe levels of periodontal disease, or patients with more complex cases, will be best managed by a partnership between the dentist and periodontist.